For those of you who have had the joy of a trip to the Alps, you know how addictive winter sports can be. Chances are, you are now hooked on skiing or snowboarding! This has likely led you to endlessly searching for the ultimate ski destinations to add to your bucket list.

We can all agree on the pros of the more traditional ski destinations like Austria, France, Switzerland and Canada. But there is something alluring about the unknown ski areas, maybe for a unique take on Après-ski or a local twist on a Vin Schaud/Glühwein. So, we put our heads together and used all our contacts to think of some unique ski destinations and the things that make them special.

Portillo Ski Resort

Country – Chile, Resort – Ski Portillo

The first ski destination that came to mind will forever last in your memory if you get the chance to visit. It is a grand old yellow hotel! Portillo in Chile is the home of skiing in South America and still has some of the best off-piste skiing in the world!

The hotel’s interior is reminiscent of the Titanic and other grand ocean-going liners blending the best South American hospitality with classic Chilean wines or, even better, a Pisco Sours.

As a resort, it is very small, with only 450 hotel beds available for guests. This means you will have undisturbed skiing even on the best powder day. There really are some great days to be had with the off-piste terrain easily accessed by lifts or if you’re really splashing out by helicopter.

Skiing when your skis are normally tucked away in the garage for summer, that’s a yes from us!

Ski Resort Run Down:

  • Best time to go – July or August
  • Size – medium pistes but almost unlimited off-piste
  • 2 hours drive from Santiago
  • Pricing – comparable to the main European resorts

La Datcha

Country – Russia, Resort – Get the Heli

Many of you will have heard of La Datcha, designed with the specific intention of providing access to unique ski destinations. The primary focus of La Datcha’s expeditions is Kamchatka, and it is a unique and exhilarating ski destination! There will be no queuing for lifts here, as all trip options outside of La Datcha bookings also rely on a helicopter with most departing from the city of Petropavlovsk.

The unexplored wilderness is the reason to put this ski destination on your list, with chances of seeing a plethora of wildlife from Whales to Grizzly bears (the largest population in the world). On your first helicopter trip to the top of Kamchatka Mountain, you are more than likely going to pause to take in the area’s majesty before launching yourself onto the pristine snow.

With some incredible skiing on offer, both in terms of quantity and quality, the traditional après-ski Russian vodka will go down a treat! Na Zdorovie!

If you get the chance for a bonus few days’ skiing, then crossing the Sea of Okhotsk to Hokkaido and the single cable car resort of Asahidake is something we can’t recommend enough! Although Japan is becoming more and more renowned for its powder skiing, there are still mountains of untouched powder. The snow falls consistently to a depth of 15 metres each year and is as light and fluffy as you can imagine, and there are very few other people to compete with, the only thing limiting your time finding fresh lines is your stamina!

Ski Resort Run Down:

  • Best time to go–April and May
  • Size–unlimited potential with skiing to the sea!
  • A proper wilderness of a ski destination
  • Pricing–7,000 euros for a weeks’ worth of heli-skiing

Skiing Iran

Country – Iran, Resort – Dizin

Whilst Iran may invoke images of dusty desert plains and bustling market souks. It also has some remarkable mountains that reach up to 5,000 metres and catch their fair share of snow every winter! Of course, there are international politics and potential visa problems in getting access, but Iran is a ski destination worth the effort!

Skiing in Iran is at a high altitude but also offers excellent potential powder options. As there are minimal tourists and Iranians don’t ski off-piste, you won’t have any competition for fresh powder! Dizin is the largest Iranian resort, with 15 lifts and offering a wide range of skiing for all abilities.

The locals are incredibly welcoming and keen to show off their country and mountains for those who make the trip.

Ski Resort Run Down:

  • Best time to go – February
  • Size – medium-sized
  • An exotic and enchanting ski destination
  • Pricing – 10 euros for a day ski pass and everything else priced similarly

Country – Georgia, Resort – Mestia

No, not the US state, but the country nestled on the edge of the black sea and Caucasus mountain range. A range of mountains covers nearly 60% of the country, making this a ski destination with many different opportunities. Our pick would be for the remote village of Mestia in the historical region of Svaneti! Although it only has two small ski areas, this ski resort will give you a real authentic Georgian experience from the millenia old tower house used to guard against invading enemies to the renowned Georgian hospitality with Chacha (Georgian brandy).

To access the village, you will need a bit of luck and a 4×4!

The cuisine alone is a reason to visit the country with a winemaking history to rival any country and food inspired from the Mediterranean and the middle east!

Ski Resort Run Down:

  • Best time to go – February and March (similar season to the Alps)
  • Size – small resorts but plenty of backcountry options
  • A look back to what mountain life used to be in the Alps before it became developed!
  • Pricing – live like a king on 50 euros a day!

Image by welove2ski

Country – Scotland, Resort – Get the touring skis out!

What Scotland lacks in predictability, it makes up for in striking scenery and all relatively accessible from the major cities! As ski destinations go, Scotland is compact, and you can just as likely have whiteout conditions in May with no snow coverage in February, so your trip might be a bit of a lottery.

But when it’s at its best, Scotland offers some stunning scenery that is easily accessible from the road and normally only an hour or 2 away from Glasgow or Edinburgh. Touring offers the best option to explore the varied terrain of Scotland, be that the plateau at the Cairngorm National Park to the steep slopes around Ben Nevis.

And what better way to finish a hard day of ski touring than a dram of whisky in front of a roaring fire and a cosy pub. For expert itinerary planners for superyachts heading to the UK, go here.

Ski Resort Run Down:

  • Best time to go – April (long days and often the best snow)
  • Size – small but plenty of ski touring options
  • From rain in February to powder skiing in May, be prepared for everything at this ski destination
  • Pricing – cheap and cheerful

Hopefully, we have given you some inspiration for your next ski destination beyond the traditional ski resorts. Although wherever you end up, we know you will have fun!

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